EJToday: Top Headlines
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In Pakistan, "Floodwaters have receded but left small children, women and the elderly battling to survive on food handouts in refugee camps on roadsides, increasingly angry at a government they say has failed them." The inadequacy of flood relief is weakening the incumbent Pakistani government and strengthening Taliban for a takeover of that nuclear-armed country. This has sparked speculation about a possible coup by Pakistan's army against the current civilian government. It has also raised concerns about the viability of the U.S. military strategy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some analysts view the situation as an example of how climate change may threaten U.S. security in the future.
"Backers of bipartisan Senate legislation establishing a renewable electricity standard hit a stumbling block [Thursday] as Sen. Lindsey Graham made plans to introduce an alternative energy measure that could draw Republican supporters."
Pakistan's ambassador told a House Committee last week that the floods devastating his country were a warning of what the future may hold in a future world of climate disruption.
"The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday said it has formally committed $1 billion in federal stimulus money to the recently retooled FutureGen clean-coal project, beating a deadline to use the money or lose it and kicking off years of further work that could finally see the project completed."
"New efforts to measure what warming temperatures are doing to forests, streams and animals at a regional level are at the core of a strategic plan by the Fish and Wildlife Service to respond to the effects of climate change."
"A once-unthinkable day is looming on the Colorado River. Barring a sudden end to the Southwest’s 11-year drought, the distribution of the river’s dwindling bounty is likely to be reordered as early as next year because the flow of water cannot keep pace with the region’s demands."
"Climate ministers and top negotiators from dozens of nations remain deadlocked over how to cut greenhouse gases less than three months before the next major international climate summit."
"Across the Far North, populations of caribou — an indispensable source of food and clothing for indigenous people — are in steep decline. Scientists point to rising temperatures and a resource-development boom as the prime culprits."
"The world could be on the brink of a major new food crisis caused by environmental disasters and rampant market speculators, the UN will be warned today at an emergency meeting on food price inflation."
In a last-gasp effort to pass some energy legislation this year, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill requiring utilities to generate at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. But they do not yet have the votes, and the first chance for action would be in a lame-duck session. The House has already passed such a bill.
"More than 500 years after Spanish priests brought wheat seeds to Mexico to make wafers for the Catholic Mass, those seeds may bring a new kind of salvation to farmers hit by global warming. Scientists working in the farming hills outside Mexico City found the ancient wheat varieties have particular drought- and heat-resistant traits, like longer roots that suck up water and a capacity to store more nutrients in their stalks."
"Moscow registered nearly 11,000 deaths due to an unprecedented heatwave this summer, a city official told AFP Friday, as the mortality rate more than doubled in the Russian capital."
"SUKKUR, Pakistan — Suhani Bunglani fans flies away from her two baby girls as one sleeps motionless while the other stares without blinking at the roof of their tent, her empty belly bulging beneath a green flowered shirt. Their newborn sister already died on the ground inside this steamy shelter at just 4 days old, after the family's escape from violent floods that drowned a huge swath of Pakistan. Now the girls, ages 1 and 2, are slowly starving, with shriveled arms and legs as fragile as twigs."
Republicans and some coal-state Democrats have not given up on efforts to stop EPA from regulating greenhouse gases. But a divisive Senate vote is unlikely until after the November election, and any bill to block EPA couldn't be enacted in this Congress anyway, given House and White House opposition. The real question is what might happen next year.